An Interview with Javi Yunes from The Plethora Project (Argentina)

During my last trip to Argentina I became acquainted with Javier Yunes, the founder and frontman of a band called The Plethora Project. The band is currently introducing audiences to its second record, “Split Album” – a collection of songs that converse back and forth among themselves, showcasing identical realities from opposing viewpoints. Javi is as much of a filmmaker as a musician, having studied art school in the past, so the full conversation with him keep that very same spirit alive – it fluctuated between different artistic conceptions until arriving at some sort of realization about the nature of what he has set to create, and how.

the plethora project live

Thank you very much for being here today and sharing the story of your band with the readers of MusicKO. First of all, I’d like to ask you to introduce yourself, so that people who are new to your music will have a basic understanding of who you are, and how that translates into what you do.

Hey, I’m Javi Yunes from the Plethora Project. The band has been around for about ten years. In 2007, we had our first recording experience via a 4-song EP. Afterwards, in 2010/2011 we issued our first long play. It was named “This House Talks”. We were lucky enough to tour many Argentinean provinces, and nowadays we are introducing audiences to our newest record, which is called “Split Album”.

Which part of Argentina do you hail from?

I was born in Córdoba, and when I was three my parents moved to Catamarca. I lived there for fifteen years, I studied elementary and secondary school there, and then I came to Buenos Aires to get a sound degree, and keep moving towards my chosen path.

When was The Plethora Project started?

I moved to Buenos Aires in 2002. The Plethora Project came to be in 2005, after I had been on other bands. It started when I released an album bearing that same name. I listened to it the other day, incidentally. And I found myself thinking how cool it would be to record it exactly as it was, but with a better sound overall.

What makes your new album stand apart from your previous body of work?

This is our first record with both compositions in English and in Spanish – hence, the “split” Concept.

We have always sang in English. And we did so because of aesthetic reasons, it just fitted our music better. Yet, we understand that the language spoken here is Spanish. And this time around we could include it, and we feel it all coalesces together quite well.

Anyway, music is a language we all understand. And we strive to create a special mood. What we want is you to feel as if you were walking through a thousand different worlds when you are listening to our music. We aim to make your mind fly – and we’re not talking about drugs. I don’t believe I am entitled to “change” anybody’s mind, but what I want is to share a piece of mine with other people. Continue reading

Tatú Vudú (Uruguayan Band)

tatu vudu deespacio

Tatú Vudú was started in 2007 by friends Diego Bustamante and Marcos Meerovich, and after years of playing in Montevideo (and after multiple personnel changes) the band managed to release its debut album in late 2012.

Entitled “Deespacio”, it was published by Uruguayan label Perro Andaluz, and the band made it available as a free download right from the very beginning.

Currently, Tatú Vudú is Diego Bustamante on voice and guitars, Marcos Meerovich on guitar, Federico Araújo on keyboards, Carlos Silva on bass and Andrés Lena on drums. Continue reading

An Interview With Bananas, a Young Uruguayan Band

NoQuieroSerNormal is a superb new blog where you can read about up-and-coming Uruguayan artists. It’s run by Gabriel Skrilec. And from now on, you’ll be able to read the interviews posted there on MusicKO, duly translated into English. The first one I’m translating is the one Gabriel conducted with Bananas, a band that has recently come together. Click here to read the original post (in Spanish).


bananas uruguay
Who are the members of “Bananas”, and how long have you been around?

Bananas are Rodrigo Curbelo on guitar and vocals, Pablo Martín on bass and backing vocals, Nicolás Bello on drums, and Rodrigo Hurtado on synths and keyboards. The band was formally started on late September/early October 2012, although a previous line-up did exist (Rodrigo Hurtado was not involved back then).


Continue reading

Casablancas Release Their Debut Ep: “Please Don’t Be Like Me”

Good ol’ Pete Townshend. He releases a chunky bio, and the standout passage is the one in which he confesses he fancied the ass off Mick Jagger when he was young. Actually, he mentions that he fancied another part of the Rolling Stone’s physiognomy. But let’s leave it at that, OK?
It just had to be.
Then, Kelly Clarkson announces the release of her first “Best Of” package, and when you glance at the tracklist “Sober” is nowhere in sight. “When beauty meets ignorance they shout in the street”, right darling? What’s your excuse?
It just had to be.
And now, Casablancas release their first EP, “Please Don’t Be Like Me”.
And is it any good?
It just had to be.

Casablancas, my half-blood brothers from the Merseyside. I’m going to write a movie script about the time I spent with the core of them when I was younger, maybe someone at Disney buys it for the next “Star Wars” trilogy. For chrissake, they hired Billy Ray Cyrus to do a show! It can’t be that difficult…

This EP (download it for free) was recorded by the band and their producer, Álvaro de León.  Casablancas comprises Martín Rela on voice and guitar, Syd Jay on guitar, Nacho Lorenzelli on bass and Seba Moroni on drums. Álvaro de León added guitars, piano and Hammond to several numbers.
In case you want to put faces to names, there you go. Yes, I know. It would be delightful to have one of these magnificent photographs in which the whole band is featured in a clockwise manner. But I never learned to use Photoshop, I was too busy learning how to write movie scripts, OK?

Martín Rela


Syd Jay


Nacho Lorenzelli


Seba Moroni


The guys define themselves as a group of friends who love making music and having a good time on the liner notes. But that doesn’t mean they are doing things by half measures. No, not at all. They’re a true example of commitment, and a firm reminder that anything can be accomplished by sheer strength of will and devotion.

“Please Don’t Be Like Me” features five different compositions, all penned by the band. You have the two songs they had recorded when Casablancas came around a couple of years ago, and the band played their first “Pepsi Bandplugged” competition amidst pussy-willows, cattails and fluorescent adolescents. They are “0800 Casablancas” and “Liverpool”. They have been revamped, and their present selves are a lot beefier thanks to the fuller-sounding production.

But the new cuts are the ones that make more of a lasting impression, for the simple reason that these songs reveal a sense of dynamics that I just didn’t know the guys had in them. Besides, Martín’s voice has grown different – there’s more of a gruff in it. Time doesn’t go by in vain, I guess. It’s only natural that the moon and the sun will change places, as if in a race to meet the ribbons of the morning first.
And cigarettes can fuck up one’s voice in no time, also. Whatever. Martín’s vocals now suit the material a great deal better. Continue reading

Escritos Circulares Brings Spanish-language Artists To The World

Escritos Circulares [Circular Writings] is a Spanish-language blog that covers art in all its manifestations. The contents of this blog are split evenly between music, literature and cinema, and new posts are published daily.

Although the blogger (Claudio, AKA “An Imaginary Boy”) is based on Argentina, Escritos Circulares deals with artists from all over the Spanish-speaking world. Some of the artists that have already been featured include Dënver (Chile), Todos Los Santos (Mexico), Scars (Colombia), Ferretría (Ecuador) and Mixti Fori (Uruguay). And that’s not counting all the Argentinean bands and artist that have been covered so far, such as La Mala Vida. Coming Soon, Adrián Juarez, Kill All Hipsters and Uma Totoro.

All posts come with pictures and videos, and you’re always told how to get in touch with the featured artists via Facebook and Twitter. (The Escritos Circulares fanpage itself is found here.)

The blog also includes a “Random Thoughts” section where you can read quotes that come from established artists and personalities, along with poems from authors such as Mario Benedetti. And every Friday, a new artist is specially highlighted on the section named “Recomendado del Viernes”. Plus, the “Artista Indie de la Semana” [Indie Artist of the Week] offers exactly what its name says. Oh, and an “English Section” is included, too. So far, it’s been the recipient of just a handful of posts, but give it time.

PumpYouUp – Free Indie Electronic Music

Name: PumpYouUp

Visit when you’re in the mood for some music to rock your body to. This new site’s devoted to free electronica, trance, dubstep and techno. In all cases, we’re talking about quality selections, handpicked by the site’s creators. The idea is to include songs that aren’t too long for their own good, and which aren’t that weird either.

So, songs can be searched used a dead-simple interface. This lets you have songs found without having to sign up for an account or anything like that. It’s all done on the fly. Continue reading

The Bear Season (Uruguayan Independent Artist)

The Bear Season: Ale Nario, Fela Magnani, Santiago de Souza, Dave Lazar, Manuel Curiel and Álvaro de León.

You know what? I’ve had it with these stuffy folks at Oxford. They’ve sold us a language that’s nowhere as limited as they’ve always claimed. They’ve shown us nothing but these sides of words they wanted us to see. Period. Take the verb “shock”, for instance. I’ve recently become aware such a verb isn’t as one-dimensional as they have told us all our lives. It’s dawned on me that it’s equally possible to be shocked positively and negatively, that you can be shocked both in good and in bad ways. Hesitant? Read on…

Definition of “something that shocked me in a bad way”: the day a friend gave me a copy of Anal Cunt’s “40 More Reasons to Hate Us” album as a birthday present, on the ostensible grounds that I love collecting rare CDs. As if that wasn’t bad enough, at around that time this wondrous friend had the chance to buy Led Zeppelin’s “Remasters” for the price of a single CD and add it to his personal collection, and he chose to buy a studio album by Wang Chung instead.
Despite the fact that I changed my address twice and that now I sleep ensconced in the middle of an underground labyrinth, I still have nightmares from time to time.

Definition of “something that shocked me in a good way”: the day I listened to The Bear Season’s debut EP (“Do It“) for the first time. Despite being Uruguayan, the guys sounded so Californian that I couldn’t help thinking if they had long blonde hair and big breasts then they’d be Athena Lundberg.
They’ve always been one of these bands I was more than eager to feature on MusicKO, but for some intricate reason or the other (like being busy listening to Pixie Lott’s debut album) I could never get around to doing it. Until now. Continue reading

A New Video By Casablancas: “Please Don’t Be Like Me”

The Current Line-up Of Casablancas

A new video from these great indie folks that make up Casablancas has just become available. The song is named “Please Don’t Be Like Me”. The first thing I thought when I watched the clip was of Donovan playing his very own equivalent to The Smiths’ “This Charming Man”. I could visualize such a thing frame by frame, in full Technicolor. All in the eye of my mind.

Yes, I know.

I should have directed “Pineapple Express” myself. Hollywood, so much to answer for…

Casablancas – Please don’t be like me from indiefolks on Vimeo.

Cool song, “Please Don’t Be Like Me”. A very playful melody, meretricious camera angles, wailing sirens in the background, terrific hairdos. Is there anything else you need? Sign on the dotted line now.

I wrote about Casablancas recently, in one of the zaniest posts MusicKO has ever known. And by all reckonings, that’s saying a lot. Catch up with the original review here. Don’t forget your parachute with the flag of the Rebel Alliance.

The Blueberries (Uruguayan Independent Artist)


The Blueberries Are Ernesto Pasarisa, Virginia Álvarez, Fede Hell And Santiago Jaureguy

In one of the poems he wrote during the final phase of his literary career, W.B. Yeats defined the inspiration which drives artists as the appetite for the apple in the bough that is the furthest away from reach. I find no better allegory for the musical vision of the many Uruguayans who hold both British and American performers as ultimate role models. The difficulties they have to face the moment they decide to make music in English in what is a Spanish-speaking country are tantalizing, including a coma-inducing lack of airplay and a barrage of misconceptions regarding what they really want to do. Onlookers claim that they are selling out, that they have no respect for Uruguayan culture, that they are posh bastards… nobody minces words. They are called all kinds of things.

There is one thing they are seldom called, though.

They are not called people with the ability to cast their aspirations beyond the logical barriers of the context they live in, and with the endurance to follow such aspirations wherever they might take them, and whichever obstacles they might end up facing. Which I think we have to agree is the truest sign of strength – the person who falls and picks himself up constantly is by far stronger than the one who never falls down.

I have already covered many artists who have chosen to sign in English in this country. Having written in English my whole life (and having gone as far as to publish a book of lyric poetry in English in Uruguay, no less) I’m naturally interested in what they do. If you read the blog frequently, you know the reviews I write about such bands usually revolve around the same set of considerations – while I profess a larger or lesser sympathy for what they do, I also tend to have reservations about how they do it. Sometimes I criticize their over-reliance on specific bands (to the point they end up sounding like cheap imitators), and other times the lyrics make me just disgruntle owing to the grammar violations and disregard for British/American naturalness they evidence. But I mainly end up the coverage of such artists remarking how much I appreciate what they intend to do, which is nothing short of an Herculean task: making people understand that one will go as far as his ability to dream and stand for these dreams can go, that only then can monotony be overtaken. Notwithstanding which shortcomings I might (or not) perceive, I always conclude that these bands are transcendental simply because of the motivational role they do play for people who have the certainty there’s something more to life than what the eye can see.

The Blueberries is a band that certainly does. Led by Ernesto Pasarisa (who sings, plays guitar and composes the songs performed by the band), they became publicly-known when they were nominated for a Graffiti Award for “Best Alternative Pop Album” just a couple of months ago. But the story of the band actually went a long way back, more precisely to the year 2007 when it was founded by Ernesto and some good friends to keep the music and essence of artists like The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Hives, The Libertines, The Strokes, The Moldy Peaches, Oasis and Blur well alive. Over the course of the years, they settled on their actual line-up which comprises Ernesto on lead vocals and guitar, Santiago “Saji” Jaureguy on guitar and backing vocals, Virginia Álvarez on bass and Fede Hell on drums. An indie band at heart, The Blueberries recorded a self-titled album that they chose to make available as a free download on their own site. It was produced by Max Capote, and mastered by Juan Branaa.

An Earlier Line-up Of The Blueberries Playing Live

As regards the way in which the band chose to market their music, this is what Saji recently told a Uruguayan portal:

“The dream of many an artist is to see his album on the racks of stores, and to be supported by a record company which has contacts along with logistic and marketing resources. That sounds quite tempting, but the truth is there are very few people willing to make an investment on emerging artists. Right now, everything revolves around placing an album in a rack and little else. If the album is successful, you will become best friends with the owner of the record company, and he will take your calls. If not (and that is something lots of bands we know can attest to) you will be moved down the pecking order, and nobody will lift a finger for you. And the thing is, few are willing to take a risk – the cost of recording an album is on the artist/band, and so is the cost of pressing it. Yet, the label is the one taking up to 80 % of what is earned just by placing it on a store.”

Thus, the band chose to make their debut album freely available to whomever wished to get it. And Ernesto wrote about 200 personalized emails introducing the band to radio stations, bloggers and the press. That’s how I became acquainted with their music.  Continue reading

NADIEQUIERE Discos, A New Uruguayan Record Label Launches

A new Uruguayan record label has launched. It is named NADIEQUIERE Discos (official page here, Facebook fan page here), and it has some bands I already covered on MusicKO (such as Casablancas), and other bands like The Bear Season that I’ve always meant to review but that are still on the pipeline because I’m as peripatetic as Ryan Adams. You know, I actually look a lot like Ryan – the only differences are that he has tons of hair, that he can sing and that he can play guitar. Oh, and that he has dated Winona Ryder.

The label also has a good handful of artists that are completely new to me, which isn’t surprising because (as those fabtastic Swedes sang) “I’m living in a box but I come out when opportunity nox”. I hope to get to know them better soon…

In the meantime, give NADIEQUIERE Discos a look (official page, Facebook fan page – whatever excites you more). Of course, you need to understand Spanish to read these pages. But if you don’t, that shouldn’t be that much of a problem. I mean, how many people who are regular opera-goers know Italian? Eh? And how many people could make sense out of the wreck that Tommy was narrative-wise when it was first issued? Poor Pete Townshend, I read he did almost 1,000 interviews to cover those narrative deficiencies. Lessons learned, kids? Do things right the first time around.